Texans, be on the lookout for an invasive beetle to ash trees: The Emerald Ash Borer.
The Emerald Ash Borer has recently been found just outside our doorsteps in Colorado in late 2013. In fact, the Emerald Ash Borer may very well already be in Texas, as most experts believe there may be as many as three years time between introduction and detection!
Emerald Ash Borers lay their eggs in the crevices of the bark of the Ash and the larvae hatch and burrow into the outer sapwood of the Ash and feed on the phloem, stealing nutrients from the tree. Eventually they will kill the tree, which is a major cost to communities for tree removal. Decreased property value, threat to public safety, decrease air quality, detriments to wildlife and the ecosystem, and loss of trees are all reasons we would rather not have the Emerald Ash Borer in our area!
EAB spend the winter into the tree as the larvae, feeding. They will pupate in the spring and emerge around late April (in parts of the world where they are currently found, although we may find this not to be the case in our warmTexas).
Signs that your Ash tree has EAB include: thinning at the top, splitting bark, and sucker growth at the base of the tree. All signs that the tree is dying.
Like most boring beetles, they do prefer stressed or weakened trees, so be sure to care for your Ash trees during our ever present drought.
If you suspect that you have EAB, collect a sample. We cannot verify that they are present in Texas, unless we have an actual specimen! Collect a sample and contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service or Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
For more information on EAB, check out this website: http://texasinvasives.org/pest_database/detail.php?symbol=5
The adult Emerald Ash Borer is a strikingly green, metallic beetle, approximately .5 inches in length.
Written by Molly Keck, Extension Program Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service